HOUSTON - In a unanimous vote, the Houston Independent School District board on Friday appointed Grenita Lathan as interim superintendent.
Lathan, who currently serves as the district’s chief academic officer, will take over immediately as acting superintendent, and will officially become interim superintendent on April 1, according to a statement from district officials.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to help our schools achieve education excellence,” Lathan said in a written statement. “We are on the right path, and I want to ensure all our students have quality educational opportunities that will prepare them for college or career. I’m fully prepared to lead the district in this season of swift transition.”
Officials said Lathan joined the district in 2015. She has served as HISD’s chief academic officer since 2016, and worked as the chief school officer before that.
The district said in her first year, she improved the state ratings at more than 20 elementary schools.
Lathan has worked in the education field for 26 years, and was the superintendent of Peoria Public Schools before she came to Houston, officials said.
Lathan takes over for outgoing HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza, who announced earlier this month that he is leaving to become the chancellor of schools in New York City.
She’s taking over at a tough time for HISD when the district is facing a $115 million deficit and 10 underperforming schools could close or turn over leadership.
Lathan sat down with KPRC Channel 2 hours after the decision.
“I’m excited. Elated that the board members put their confidence in me to lead the district in this time of transition,” she said. “We have a lot of work to do as a school district, but the work can get done and it will get done.”
Lathan said it’s vital the community come together to tackle the challenges.
“Everyone needs to understand that their voices will be heard and that we will reach a resolution that we provide an opportunity for us to provide a quality education for our children,” she said.
Officials said that the board plans to use the same firm it used during the search for Carranza. The search will not cost the district because Carranza left in less than two years, officials said.
Lathan said the board and her have a cabinet meeting Friday to talk about the goals for those underperforming schools and the budget.
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